By Tony Attwood
The argument that I am trying to make is that there is a huge amount going on in football which is beneath the surface and is not being covered by the English media because journalists are afraid that if they do they will lose their press passes allowing them to watch matches from the privileged positions and be paid for so doing.
Of course the media do print and publish negative commentaries about football clubs like Arsenal, of course but these focus on a few other clubs in this way. Otherwise, the privileges journalists have, ensure they lay off any form of investigation into the doings of current day executives in clubs. And so the media follow the official line, making up lunatic transfer stories that will never come to pass while ganging up on individual players, ensuring that no newspaper or broadcaster rarely steps out of line.
And it is all done with absolute cynicism. Despite the fact that there are some real stories out there such as One year suspension and risk of prison for Juve boss we don’t hear these.
Yes, a year’s suspension was requested on Tuesday by the prosecutors against the Juventus boss, Andrea Agnelli, and eleven months against the president of Naples, Aurelio De Laurentiis.
In fact, eleven clubs, including five of Serie A, have now appeared before the disciplinary bodies in Italy this week. They are accused of having “accounted for capital gains and transfer rights for values higher than those allowed,” according to the Italian Federation (FIGC).
The clubs involved are most likely to be fined, because removing points is said to undermine the integrity of the league table (!). But the sixty or so managers and representatives referred to in the cases, in a personal capacity, risk sanctions up to being suspended from football.
At the start of the secret trials, the prosecutor requested suspensions for a dozen Juventus senior staff. He asked in particular for a year’s suspension against the president Andrea Agnelli, 16 months against the former sporting director Fabio Paratici and eight months for the vice-president Pavel Nedved, according to a statement from the FIGC.
A fine of 800,000 euros was requested against Juventus; a large amount because much of the capital gains made in recent seasons from the sale of players were said to be for players whose fees were overvalued. The implication is that a club that is running into difficulty from having spent too much, reduces its transfer losses by selling players at way above their natural value, and then privately the owner of the club refunds the buying club the difference. The player sells for £30m but is only worth £10m in the current market, and after that the owner of the selling club slips the owner of the buying club a £20m in a brown envelope. (Or possibly in a brown parcel).
For Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, the federal prosecutor has asked for a suspension of 11 months because of his crimes. The Neapolitan club, against which a fine of 392,000 euros is also demanded, is being prosecuted in connection with the transfer of Nigerian Victor Osimhen from Lille in 2020, according to reports.
In this case for the striker was sold for an estimated amount of some 70 million euros. But Napoli had lowered the bill by selling Lille four players for a total of about 20 million euros when it is generally thought they were only worth about a fifth of that. Three of those players have never played for Lille and are now playing in amateur divisions in Italy.
Once again, because the British media won’t cover European stories, and won’t ever investigate what is really going on in the Premier League, for fear of being banned by the big clubs, we don’t hear of these stories.
The problem we have also is that the Court of Arbitration in Sport is itself heavily criticised for being in the pay of some senior clubs and corrupt officials. Indeed we covered this in an earlier article “The movement to overthrow the Court of Arbitration for Sport is growing”
And as the Standard pointed out recently Manchester City has been heavily criticised in an enquiry into the breach of FFP rules by Manchester City in the High Court. The paper said, “It was submitted that the tactic that the club has adopted has been to make as many procedural applications and complaints as it possibly can in order to slow the day when it will actually have to provide the documents and information.”
This is where we have got to. There is a lot happening beneath the surface, and only 1% of it is being reported by the English media. Instead we get the daily tales of players coming to Arsenal who we all know will never be transferred our way. In short the media is compliant with those now slowly being dragged through the courts.
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